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“I have often reflected upon the new vistas that reading opened to me. I knew right there in prison that reading had changed forever the course of my life. As I see it today, the ability to read awoke in me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive.”  

 

~Malcolm X

KCC Reads

 

KCC Reads, Kingsborough's common reading program, was inaugurated at a meeting of the Faculty Assembly in Spring 2001. Like universities across the country, we wanted to adopt a program that would cultivate a reading culture and foster community through reading, discussion, teaching and research on a single book. Since its inception, the program has been highly collaborative, with participation of members from every part of our campus, in events, meetings, debates, art projects, book nominations, reading groups and other programs.

The utility of a university common reading program is in the way it not only fosters a spirit of community on campus but can function also to develop students in important ways: research and public speaking, critical thinking and writing, leadership, as well as preparing graduates for senior college or for the career they may enter upon graduation. Student enrichment is, therefore, our chief focus: to introduce students to intellectual life and buoy their development as socially responsible, civically engaged citizens. KCC Reads also aims to enhance and sustain a sense of college community through a Cohort that organizes events and selects the annual books, as well as through the broader collective work of teaching, reading and conducting research on them. Finally, the program engages a civic engagement agenda, both through research elaborating social and political themes of the chosen books and through philanthropic, social justice and other volunteer work in Brooklyn and wider New York City.

To these ends, we organize an Events series in which a large number of students, staff and faculty collaborate. Our first event is the KCC Reads Inaugural Day, where we launch the program for the year, discuss teaching strategies and distribute the book for students. We host a number of smaller events throughout the year—film screenings, field trips, talks or panel discussions by faculty, students or invited guests, as well as teaching workshops, student roundtables and multimedia presentations, events for Black and Women's History Months or for our Eco Festival—followed by holding our culminating program, the KCC Reads Student Conference where students of the college present their work on the book through panel and roundtable discussions, poster and Power Point presentations, dramatic and other performances, and as part of exhibitions. In addition, Kingsborough students participate in the planning and management of this event, which concludes with a Keynote Lecture given by the author or an expert in the field.

The conference involves two additional mechanisms of student support. First, the KCC Reads Social Justice Award is given to students who present the best paper, project or art piece on a social justice theme. The other piece of this is our student publication—Paideia: The Journal of KCC Reads—including outstanding scholarly and creative work in multiple genres and maintaining a focus on material presented at the conference.

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Peruse the website, get to know the program and consider adopting the book, attending events or joining the Program Cohort. Read about this year’s KCC Reads selection, the 2010 National Book Award winner, Just Kids by New York City-based musician, artist, political activist and writerPatti Smith. 

Save the Date: The Inaugural Day for Just Kids is Thursday, Sept. 11th in the MAC Rotunda. Professor Paul Ricciardi (Theatre Arts) will deliver the Inaugural Lecture at 10:20 and again at 11:30. And, we will hold a faculty session on teaching the book at 3:00 pm, along with distributing books for students (who need it for a class) between 10:00 am and 4:30 pm.

Books are available, for as long as they last, in Room M-386.

Contact program coordinator Maureen Fadem with questions about the program, about how we might improve this website, and/or if you would like to get involved in KCC Reads. Learn more about KCC Reads from this informational video, made by KCC Students (under the drection of Prof. DL Anderson) in 2013:

http://kbvideo.kingsborough.edu/embed/196/

Christoph Lengauer

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KCC READS  is part of the Coordinated Undergraduate Education Initiative (CUE) at Kingsborough Community College, overseen by our Associate Provost, Dr. Reza Fakhari (M-386, 718-368-5029).

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